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My cup of motherhood

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Introducing Our Angel Araina!

How can it be that my little Jellybean is already 3-week-old? It doesn’t seem 5 minutes since I was waddling around a huge bump, inadvertently rolling my eyes every time someone commented to me “you didn’t deliver the baby yet?”. As it turned out, Jellybean came 4 days before my due date.

You may have noticed that I have taken a little break from blogging from last few months, thanks to the bad pelvic pain and the growing laziness that comes along with your third trimester. But you’ll agree though its pretty understandable when you look at my newborn daughter. Who would want to pass up cuddles with her in favour of a laptop? Not me that’s for sure!!

I meant to post this awhile back and I guess I never did! I ‘ve posted just about everywhere but on my blog that our baby girl joined our family! Araina was born on October 23rd.

Here are her stats…

7lb 5oz | 21 inches | 10.23.2021 | 1.09am

We were so fortunate to have a natural birth and recovery. I would love to share my birth story some other day, as I am already so behind on posting the introduction.

I started my parenting blog journey with my son Ahaan who is just 5 years old but suddenly feels a lot bigger after my second one.

Araina and Ahaan has been the best thing that has happened to me and Lokesh. We are so thankful that God chose us to be their parents- it fills my heart with happiness being their mama. At the moment she is 3 weeks old, and I can’t believe how fast time is flying by. I wish I could freeze time, but I guess for now I ‘ll just keep taking as many photos as I can!

I want to take you all on my parenting journey and will also be posting lot of reviews on the products that I am using for my daughter to help new mommies around here.

Stay there with me mommas for lot of informative stuff coming your way!!

Happy Parenting!

 

Are you happy or sad? Are we masking children's ability to read emotions?

Photo by Izzy Park on Unsplash

In the summer of 2021, as school district in the country were announcing the mask mandates as part of their plans to safely reopen schools in midst of covid 19 pandemic, series of memes made round in social media. While their content and image varied, their basic messaging of the post still remain the same. Seeing each other wearing mask is detrimental to their overall development. Infact the masking rules could lead to psychological and social damage for kids across the globe.

Parents are worried that making their kids wear a face mask could have unintended consequences. They want to know whether their kid will be able to understand what their teachers are saying. Or the social and emotional nuances of what is being communicated to them so that they can learn how to appropriately respond to them. They are worried if it is going to cause unnecessary anxiety which is going to get in the way of their normal development.

There are definitely lot of questions.

Whether it’s the righteous joy embodied by an open-mouthed laugh or the subtle contempt of a curled lip, people of all ages rely on others’ faces to help them navigate their social environments. Our expressions, whether we intend them to or not, convey all manner of vital information. Those bashful smiles and pursed lips reveal quite a bit about what we feel—and offer guidance to others on how to best respond to us. This is especially the case if our words and expressions do not match.

“There are a lot of things that are really important for human communication,” says Seth Pollak, head of the Child Emotion Lab at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. “And human faces are definitely one of the most important of them.”

SPECIAL ABOUT HUMAN FACES

In order to make our way in the world, human beings, like other animals, need to be able to recognize objects. The world is full of things that can help us or hinder us as we navigate our surroundings; distinguishing between the two is vital. Faces, however, are a special kind of object. So special, in fact, that they have their own specific real estate in the brain, the fusiform face area in the temporal lobe, which is solely responsible for facial recognition.

By just looking at a face you can see what group or race they belong to, their age, and whether they are male or female. Once you make social contact, the face also is a source of emotional information. The brain can very efficiently manipulate the facial muscles to convey different kinds of emotions, even extremely subtle changes in our emotions. It’s not a surprise that the brain has set aside a special area so we can quickly perceive and process this information.

No sooner do infants enter the world than they start looking for faces. A newborn will quickly lock on to any faces in the environment. Their eyes are driven to faces and, within 28 hours of age, they can already recognize their own mother’s face.

ARE WE MASKING EMOTIONS?

it is not surprising that many now wonder about what cloaking half the face may mean not only for development, but also for social and emotional processing. With masks concealing the suggestive contortions of the mouth and nose—which can signal the difference between a smile and a sneer—how might day-to-day mask-wearing affect how we perceive others, and they us?

I asked my 5-year-old son “How was your first day at school? Were your friends happy to be in school?” I asked him whether their faces depicted anger, fear, disgust, happiness, sadness, or neutral emotion. He was not confident and said I could feel anything weather they are happy or said as I can’t see they are smiling or not. Given that emotional expressions are one of the most efficient ways of communicating to other people, this is something that does have an impact. People will have to rely on other cues, like context or a person’s tone or gestures, to help them understand what emotion a person may be trying to express.

FILLING IN THE GAPS

Despite that lack of efficiency, I don’t think that social or emotional development will be derailed by increased mask-wearing. To start, people don’t need to rely solely on a static photo of a masked face to glean emotional data. Other dynamic cues—including gestures, tone, and posture, and contextual information—will help fill in the blanks.

Younger children, who may be in the process of learning how to read emotion in faces, can still interact with family and close friends without masks at home—and see the faces of their unmasked teachers through virtual platforms. They are not completely bereft of facial cues.

If you worry a child is having trouble reading a masked face, you can encourage them to ask questions. There’s no reason why we can’t prep children to raise their hand and ask for more information if they need it, whether the other person they are communicated with is masked or unmasked.

In the end I just want to say that despite ongoing concerns about masks and emotional learning, all of the scientists interviewed were adamant that the risks of not wearing a mask—and potentially being infected with Covid-19 and suffering from long-term health consequences as a result—far outweigh risks related to the loss of face-relayed social information.

Faces are not the only place we get this important information, there is also information in what people say, their verbal descriptions, their tone of voice, their gestures. Even if part of this facial information is missing, we can compensate for it. It may be a little harder to do, but children are really quite adaptive. They will learn what they need to learn.

People are focused on the mask-wearing as something that will hurt kids, but what may be of more concern is that so many children are isolated from their friends or struggling with virtual school. We don’t know yet what may have long-term effects on development or mental health. These are things that we should be looking at carefully as we move forward. Numerous studies suggest that the pandemic is leading to increased rates of depression and anxiety in both kids and adults, but it is hard to distinguish what aspects of pandemic life, exactly, may be influencing such trends.

Preparing Your Child to Go Back to School in Person.

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For families, two events would be happening about the same time, this fall. Kids will be going back to school in person and parents are expected to return to their offices either part time or full time.

 

From one perspective, it is just normal to what was before the pandemic. But from the perspective of the families that ahs adjusted to the remote work from home or hybrid schedule, this is a major break from what has become normal. It means you will have new routine, new expectation each day, new activities that need to be planned and will definitely come up with new stress.

 

Are you feeling anxious?

There is definitely this anxiety about balancing things that I feel as a parent. After more than a year of multi-tasking from home, for better or for worse, the prospect of getting everyone out of the door early morning and ranging full series of activities is really daunting.

When we went into the lockdown mode, there was lot of anxiety and worry about how we will manage working from home and school for our kids at the very same time. Now its kind of opposite. How are we going to manage commuting and drop off and everybody’s schedule outside home? And there is a lot of

Kids are out of practice of dealing full day and full week of in person school and parents are out of practice of commuting to their office. The beginning of school year has always been the time for some new adjustment and routines and usually cause lot of anxiety in kids. But now I think that is going to be amplified to lot of kids because its going to be long day for those who have been used to shorter days, intermittent study time and lighter demands.

One thing as a parent I would recommend you not to make all these changes at the same time. I would recommend parents to start going to their offices occasionally before school resumes, so that the kids who are nervous about separating will get used mom and dad coming and going again.

For those who had anxiety before the pandemic, last year was a relief from that stress. For them I foresee the huge adjustment for these kids going back to school potentially with the school refusal in the beginning. For making things easier, I would advice parents and care givers to plan things ahead now, whether that involves visiting the school now, or meeting with teachers and staff in order to make your child comfortable or just to put the plan in place for fall.

It is advised by Caroline Mendel, PsyD, a clinical psychologist from Child Mind Institute to increase kids’ social exposure gradually during summer. You can start with playdate, and then to the playground with slightly bigger group of kids. It will eventually be like riding a bike, but you have got to get that practice in. It is like with math: If no one does it over the summer, they lose all of that. So, expect that there are going to be social hiccups, and that is okay. It is normal for everybody.

 

Here are some ways to help children with return.

 

1. Prepare them for change.

The school your children are returning to probably will not look like the one they left. Prepare them for what they are about to see and feel. We need to let them know that there will be mask, distance between friends, perhaps plexiglass dividers and a different lunchtime and recess than they had when school shuttered.

One of the biggest things that will contribute to a child’s anxiety on the return to school and life outside of shutdowns is all the uncertainty. The more information kids have at the appropriate developmental level, the better.

It is also very important, to also keep your anxieties in check. Kids are very impressionable and is going to follow your lead. We should not transmit our own fears but should empower our kids with the tools they need to know to be safe in school.

 

2. Help them work their social muscles.

This pandemic has taken toll on kids on those who have missed out their social interaction at all. So, it is really important for us to bring our kids together with friends in the safe way as much as possible before the school start in person. That way, easing back in might be simpler.

 

3. Provide routine and structure.

“It’s important to think about the way we parent, and very often, we don’t. We think about it when our kids are in trouble instead of preparing,” Koplewicz, Founder of Child Mind institute, says. Parents should, he said, be the “scaffold” that protects and guides children as they grow, but “not impede learning and risk-taking as they grow up.”

 

Sources of stability will help them feel supported in this wild time: Make sure that your kids have routines and know the house rules, and that you clearly communicate all of this with them.

Even though everything is remote now, you still can get your children get into routine. Have then wake up at their usual school time, eat breakfast and brush their teeth even though they are working on their desk at home. Kids usually follow what their parents do. If parents are working in their pajamas the whole day, then its not structure.

 

The best thing that a parent can do is “just checking in with yourself, recognizing your own stress and anxiety, modeling handling that for your child, naming it and taking a step back and trying to use some skills.”

 

I would like to say to the parents who are worried that they have done “back to school” before. “It’s a bit amplified, but you’ve done this before. We all take a break over the summer and then you go back in the fall. We’ve done many versions of this before.”

Happy Parenting!

Helping Your Anxious Child Overcome Bedtime Fears

 

mali desha on Unsplash

You are finally settling on your couch, with the remote in your hand and ready to binge watch your latest Netflix obsession. You are just about to press play when you hear tiny feets padding down the hall.

“Mommy, I can’t sleep, I am scared!”

How many times has this happened? Your child has struggled with nighttime fears for what feels like forever and you have tried all tricks you know- setting up a regular routine, reassuring them nothing will happen, night lights, warm milk, laying down with them, etc. Nothing is working. What can you do? Here are some suggestions that can help reduce your child’s fear at night and help him / her get better sleep.

 

PINPOINTING THE FEAR

One of the most important things to do is to figure out exactly, what is causing the anxiety. Is it the fear of dark? Is it the worry about something in the closet? Is it monsters? Is it spiders? Figuring out the cause of the fear will help you come up with ways you can help your child combat it. However, do not force your child to talk about the fear if they are not ready. It is not uncommon for children to have difficulty telling the difference as to what is real and what is imaginary. Never dismiss or make fun of child’s fear. What may seem silly for adults may seem very real to your child.

NOT TO SUPPORT OR BUILD UP THESE FEARS

Once you understand the nature of your child’s fear, it is important not to build up or support these fears. For example, if your child is scared of monsters, don’t get out the monster repellent or broom to sweep the monster away. These actions tend to make children think that you believe in the imagined objects as well. These attempts to comfort your child may inadvertently create a situation in which you are delaying the bedtime and providing entertainment to your child as opposed to providing comfort.

REARRANGE THE ROOM

Are there particular spots in the room that appear darker and cause more fear in the child? Go into the bedroom during the day with your child and talk about the spots that make your child nervous. Try moving night lights and furniture for the calming room arrangement.

KEEP A SECURITY OBJECT

It may be helpful for your child to keep a security object (e.g., Special blankets, stuffed toys) to keep during the night to help him or her feel more relaxed during bedtime.

A PET FOR COMPANIONSHIP

A pet for companionship (preferably an animal that do not sleep on the bed, a fish tank is a great option) can also provide security and reduce nighttime fears. Sometime sharing bedroom with your older sibling can help reduce bedtime fears. Be sure that children are not interfering in each other’s sleep.

READ A BOOK TO HELP CALM ANXIETY AT NIGHT

There are several children book that have characters that are scared of dark. Make sure you read them those books to make them aware that they are not the only one who are scared of dark. The cartoon characters or the book characters are role model for kids, and they tend to replicate what all they do. Make sure while reading the book, stress on how they overcome the fear of dark.

YOGA

Certain yoga poses are helpful in calming the body down and getting ready for rest at night. One of my favorites is to have your child lay down on their back with the legs perpendicular up against the wall. Have their arms put to their sides. Encourage them to do some deep breathing as they lay like this. Make sure you try to make them do it on bed so that it is easy for them to transition.

BUILD SELF CONFIDENCE

It is important for your child to have daytime experiences that serve to build self-confidence. If he / she feels confident during the day, this will help with security at night as well. Depending on the age of your child and how well he / she is able to talk about fears, you may want to give your child the option of telling you about the fearful experiences and what might help him / her to feel less frightened at night.

If your child has a difficult time separating from you after being tucked in for the night, or if she / he calls out in fear soon after bedtime, go back and ask what is wrong. Reassurance can be provided by making statements that communicate the safety of your child. For example, you might say, "You are OK. We are here to make sure that you are safe. We will make sure that nothing bothers you so that you can sleep comfortably in your own bed all night."

 

If your child's problems at bedtime and during the night continue despite efforts at implementing the previous recommendations, your child may have become dependent on your attention. If you have reached this point, you may need to increase your efforts to be firm and consistent at bedtime while also providing comfort to your child and reassuring that it is safe to be in bed.

If your child's bedtime fear and anxieties continue, are severe, or are also present during the day, you should consider having a formal psychological evaluation of your child to identify and treat anxiety.

Kids need help coping with nighttime fears, and they need a helper who is sensitive to their developmental stage and individual temperament. They need someone to reassure them, to provide them with a sense of security, and to teach them how to overcome their nighttime fears.

 

In short, they need responsive, rational parenting.

How to empower children against bullying.

 

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What is Bullying?

According to the dictionary, bullying is defined as repeated unwanted and aggressive behavior in which the child and teen uses a perceived power imbalance such as physical strength, access to embarrassing information or popularity, to control and harm other kids. It can include anything from spreading rumors to name calling to physical aggression, but this is not being rude or unkind once. It is basically the repeated, purposeful abuse of power, meant to cause harm to another person.

Why would a young child do this? Have you ever thought about it? Because it gives them power. We all need to feel powerful in our lives. If we do not have access to power in the healthy way, it becomes hard to resist using it in unhealthy way. And for a child or teen who often feels powerless in his life, abusing power by bullying can feel as potent as a drug. If the child is hurting inside, it can help him feel a little better for a short time. Unfortunately, the kids who are hurting, often hurt other kids.

Can you bully-proof your child?

Unfortunately, no. There have always been hurting people who act out by hurting others, and your child's path will sometimes cross with theirs. And all children want to get their way, which means they will sometimes abuse power; that is developmentally normal and short-lived in a context where they are also developing empathy. Your goal should not be to insulate your child, but to support him to develop the awareness and skills to protect himself when necessary, and to seek help when he is in over his head.

Bullying behavior begins in preschool and gain momentum as kids grow. Many kids describe themselves as having been subjected to bullying but also as having bullied others. Unless your child tells you about bullying or has visible bruises or injuries, it can be hard to know if it is happening.

But there are some warning signs. Parents might notice kids:

 

  1. Acting differently or seeming anxious
  2. Not eating, not sleeping well, or not doing the things they usually enjoy
  3. They seem moodier or more easily upset than usual.
  4. They try avoiding certain situations (like taking the bus to school)

If you suspect bullying but your child is reluctant to open up, find ways to bring up the issue. For instance, you might see a situation on a TV show and ask, "What do you think of this?" or "What do you think that person should have done?" This might lead to questions like: "Have you ever seen this happen?" or "Have you ever experienced this?" You might want to talk about any experiences you or another family member had at that age.

Let your kids know that if they are being bullied or harassed or see it happening to someone else. It is important to talk to someone about it, whether it is you, another adult (a teacher, school counselor, or family friend), or a sibling.

Recent research shows that long-term consequences of bullying include higher risk for depression, anxiety, PTSD, substance abuse and self-destructive behavior. That is the bad news, but the good news is that you can help your child develop the skills to stand up to bullying behavior, and you can keep him   becoming a bully. How?

Model confident, respectful behavior with other people.

If you lose your temper and curse out other drivers, even from the privacy of your own car, you are teaching your child that sometimes it is okay to disrespect other people. Conversely, if you tend to back down easily so you do not make a scene, but then later feel pushed-around, it is time to change that. Your child is learning from watching you. Experiment with finding ways to assert your own needs or rights while maintaining respect for the other person, and model treating everyone with respect, even when you disagree.

Stay connected to your child through thick and thin.

Lonely kids are more likely to be bullied. And kids are often ashamed that they are being bullied, so they are hesitant to tell their parents. If your child knows that you will always listen, and that you have their back, they are more likely to talk with you about things that upset them.

How do you make sure your child would tell you if they were being bullied? Remember, parenting is 80% connection -- a close relationship with your child -- and only 20% guidance. The guidance will not stick unless you have the relationship to support it and will just drive your child away. So, prioritize your relationship with your child, and keep those lines of communication open, no matter what.

Directly teach your child respectful self-assertion.

Kids need to learn that they can get their needs met while being respectful of other people. Give him words to stick up for himself early on like “its my turn now”, “Hey, stop that”, “Hands off my body”, “It’s not ok to hurt”, “I don’t like you to call me that, I like you to call me by your name”.

Teach your child basic social skills.

Unfortunately, bullies’ prey on kids whom they perceive to be vulnerable. If you have a child who has social-skill challenges, make it a priority to support your child in all the other ways listed in this article, to make him less attractive to bullies. Then, make games out of social skills, and practice at home. Role play with your child how to join a game at the playground, introduce himself to another child at a party, or initiate a playdate. For instance, kids who are successful in joining groups of kids usually observe first, and find a way to fit into the group, rather than just barging in.

Sometimes kids want peer acceptance so much that they continue to hang around a group of peers even when one of the group leaders begins to mistreat them. If you suspect your child might be vulnerable, listen to what he says about peer interactions to help him learn to check in with his own inner wisdom, and work to provide healthy relationship opportunities for him.

Do not hesitate to intervene.

Your job as the parent is to protect your child. That means that in addition to teaching your child to stick up for herself, you may well need to call the teacher or principal. Do not give your child the message that he is all alone to handle this. And do not assume that if there is not physical violence, she isn't being wounded in a deep way. Despite the old rhyme about words not hurting, mean words and isolation are terribly damaging to a child or teen's psyche, and research shows they can cause lasting negative effects. If the school cannot protect your child, consider transferring to a different school, or even homeschooling.

Dealing with bullying can hurt a child's confidence. To help rebuild it, encourage your kids to spend time with friends who have a positive influence. Participation in clubs, sports, or other enjoyable activities builds strength and friendships.

Provide a listening ear about tough situations but encourage your kids to also tell you about the good parts of their day and listen attentively. Make sure they know you believe in them and that you will do what you can to address any bullying.

Happy Parenting!!

How to Teach Kids the Art of Losing

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Never have I ever thought that teaching my son to lose gracefully would be such an important part of my parenting journey. No one like to lose but at one point we all do even when we know we gave it our all whether it is a school competition or a game. Of course, losing is inevitable throughout the course of the lifetime, but to think of it as a pillar of parenting right alongside “be a good human” and “love to learn”? It did not even cross my mind until one day my husband brought this up with my 5-year-old son.

He went out to play with his friends in the evening and were having a race. He did not win and suddenly his lips quivered, and he started crying. He did not want to the race anymore. We kept saying its ok!!but to no avail, he just did not want to understand. I talked to him in night, and he said that I want to win else I will never ever race with anyone. I told him to keep trying till he succeeds and went to bed. “

That is just the part of the game”, I tried to reassure him.

After he slept, I pondered over what is going on in his mind. He is going to lose a lot in his life. He needs to learn how to lose. And it is never too early to start. I started searching online and I came across an article by Eileen Kennedy-Moore, Ph.D., Parent’s advisor, and coauthor of Smart Parenting for Smart Kids. It says that “Competitiveness is natural among preschoolers”. They see it the opportunity to best their buddies in everything to who can swing higher to who gets in the line first. At the age of 4, they compete over everything and starts comparing as bigger and better.

It is not the easy lesson at 5 or even 35. But loss bring perspective and we learn from it what we cannot ever learn from winning.

I have jotted down few points as how you can teach your kids to lose.

Start Young

It is better to start early as nobody likes to lose even at any age. We all know our children well and I knew that my child is well mature to handle and learn these lessons at the age of 4. Those who have children under the age, and they think that they are not mature enough to understand, wait for them until they are ready and instead of focusing at once, focus on small parts of losing and being a good sport.

Do not let them win all the time.

As parents, we have the instinctual desire to protect our child from every kind of hardship or hurdles. We want them to have an easy and stress-free life but realistically this is not guarantee. As parents, it should be our responsibility to prioritize teaching them how to handle struggle and frustration. And this means we do not let them win every time.

I know its hard to see your kid disappointed, but I am learning to resist the urge of clearing every path in front of him constantly. I know that if I keep trying to shelter them from disappointment, they will be less able to handle it when they get older. While the small losses feel so big now, the losses that comes to the future will be on the larger scale.

Embrace a “Practice makes you better” mindset.

This is the cue I took it from my husband. He keeps on saying that practice makes you better. I have seen how this phrase has shaped his mindset. Now whenever, he loses, he himself says this a lot. “Mom, I really need to practice getting better”. It works every time, in regard with everything from sports to drawing, cooking, and reading.  

This mindset helps them to focus on efforts and learning rather than outcome or perfection. Practice will never make you perfect but will always make you better.

Validate their feelings.

While I am teaching all this to my kid, I am recognizing that teaching them to lose and having them to be ok with losing are two different things and that is ok. It is actually very rare that a person enjoys losing. When they are upset about losing, that is the valid feeling. I cannot brush off this feeling by just saying that “It’s just a game”.

What I can do to teach them that it is ok to sit in sadness and live-in pain and defeat without being rude and angry towards their friends. What I can do is to show them how to overcome overwhelming emotions and stand back.

Look for lessons.

Every experience comes with the lesson and its just that when we win, we are less likely to look for it because we are very pleased with our outcome. Losing pushes us to reflect and brings growth and chances to start again. Teaching our kids how to reflect and comes up with the point of pride that they can hold on to and can objectively see their gaps or areas that need development is an essential skill.

 

Being a good sport after winning or losing comes more naturally to some children than others, but all children can learn these skills with practice and support. Ahaan has not lost his competitive spirit but he did learn to stop saying hurtful words after losing.

It is my privilege as a parent to be able to guide them through this and I don’t take this lightly.

 

Should we let our kids go back to school this fall?

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Damned if we send our kids to school, Damned if we not.

That is how I feel as a parent when I think of sending Ahaan to school during this pandemic situation which is creating havoc in our nation among people. After 4 months at home with our children, most of us as a parent are more than ready to send our kids as we are all feeling that burnout. We need schools to reopen but we also know its not safe.

When schools closed, kids had no choice but to stealthily adapt to the routine. Their end of school year started with the spring break and then we told them, Aha! The spring break is extended. And then ok! You cannot come now, and they started e-learning for the rest of the year.

Then started ZOOM. They were on zoom and were doing fine. But for some, it was not good, they were not motivated, and parents were struggling to keep them sitting in front of the laptop. It was tough for the teachers also to plan their lessons accordingly and adapt to something that they have not done before.

And now we are out of our minds, trying to decide whether we will be sending them to school if they reopen. We keep reading news everyday about New Jersey Education Board on plans to reopen, that they will have alternate working days. But still if my son is going 3 days a week, his chances to get infected remains the same.

If you ask me, I am confused whether I should send him to a campus made of bricks and mortar and expose him to risk of infection and worry continuously about his physical health every day.

Or

Whether I should keep him at home with me exposing him to the risk of challenging e- learning environment where he will suffer from social and emotional distress due to the lack of interaction among his peers.

I am confused whether I should send him to school knowing that he is supposed to wear mask for 8 hours and will not be able to breathe properly and finally after some time, getting weary of it and will slide it down proning him to infection.

Or

Whether I should keep him at home, where he can be without mask and breathe easily but being with his parents all the time, he will get weary of us.

I am confused whether I should send him to school because he wants to go and so do I.

Or

Whether I should keep him at home because I want him, teachers, and his friends to stay healthy.

 

We parents are so perplexed of what is the right thing for us and for our kids because we want both. I do not know what my decision is yet and will continue to change on how the things move during this summer break. But one thing I know is we are in trouble if we send our kids to school and if we not.

So just trust your guts and do what you think is right for you and your kid.

Happy Parenting!!

Father's Day around the world!

 

Photo by Jon Tyson on Unsplash

June is here, that means Father’s Day is just around the corner. From teaching us how to walk, ride a bike and walking you down the aisle, fathers have a special place in our heart, so be ready to show all your love this June 21st.

I want to express my deepest gratitude to all the Dads in the world by saying just few words,

“Every hug you give, every joke your hear, every moment you hear patiently, every time you take deep breath and see things from your child’s perspectives, every time you role model for your child how to show up your confidence and integrity, you are shaping your child into a person who will make you proud. We celebrate you! Whatever else you accomplish in your life is nothing as compared to your role as a father.”

Do you know?

Father’s Day was inaugurated in United states in the early 20th century basically to compliment the Mother’s Day in celebrating fathers, fathering and fatherhood. The first celebration of Father’s Day happened in Spokane, YMCA on June 19th, 1910 by Sonora Smart Dodd. Her father was a civil war veteran and was a single parent taking care of all his 6 children. When she heard the sermon of the Mother’s Day in the church, she requested the pastor that fathers should also have the same kind of the day. Initially she requested for June 5th as it was his father’s birthday, but pastor did not have enough time to prepare the sermons, and the celebration was deferred to the third Sunday of June.

You all must be gearing yourself making some plans for Father’s Day so here I am with some fun way’s world celebrate this day. Not all dads get to relax with some coffee and the card in their hand. In Finland, dads sleep in and enjoy their breakfast in bed whereas conversely in Mexico, Dads participate in 21k run through the capital city.

 If you also want some crazy ideas to celebrate, here is the list

Thailand: They celebrate Father’s Day on 5th December every year. This day also marks their national day. All of them have to wear yellow and give bright canna flower to their fathers. So cool right, you can grab a yellow flower from your garden and give it to your dad.

Germany: They celebrate this day on 6th Sunday after Easter that is the 40th day after Easter. Though it is a public holiday, it is actually a chance for men to act like boys known as Vatertag. Dad’s enjoy drinking lot of beer, driving a bike and hiking. The wives stay home with the kids and dads have their day of fun. Do you want to give your dad this kind of a day? I would love to. 

Mexico: They celebrate this day on 3rd Sunday of June. It is an observance not a public holiday here. It is usually a family centric celebration. Cakes, chocolate, artwork, t shirts are gifted. Father’s Day community activities take place such as 21k run through the capital city to all the dads. Most schools have special events, such as pot-luck lunches, hand-made artwork on display, children singing songs, or school plays. Families also enjoy the feast topped with Pan Dulce or sweet bread. 

Japan: Father’s Day is known as Chichi no hi in Japan is set on 3rd Sunday of June every year. The most important way to celebrate this day in Japan is spending time with the family. The children gather flowers, make handmade gifts for their dads. The celebratory meal of the day is usually seafood based that mainly consist of prawns and crabs. 

Russia: The day is observed on 23rd February every year. It is celebrated not only to honor not only those serving in the military but also men in general. In addition of getting the gifts from their children, they sometimes receive gifts from their female co-workers. Who would mind that? I would not definitely!! 

Nepal: Father’s Day is also called Gokarna Aunsi here. It is not celebrated until late summers and is not the Father’s Day in western sense. Gokarna Aunsi means “cow eared no moon night”. Dads not only get the gifts but are also honored by boys touching their head on their feets and girls touching their hand. 

United states: Father's Day in the United States is on the third Sunday of June. It celebrates the contribution that fathers and father figures make for their children's lives. Its origins may lie in a memorial service held for a large group of men, many of them fathers, who were killed in a mining accident in Monongah, West Virginia in 1907. It is a relatively modern holiday so different families have a range of traditions. These can range from a simple phone call or greetings card to large parties honoring all of the 'father' figures in a particular extended family.

It is the day that takes pride in appreciating the contribution of the father and the sacrifices that he makes for his child and his family. Often these sacrifices go unnoticed and moreover his care and love for his child is ignored and taken for granted and not valued by the society.

I salute to all the wonderful dads who have touched the life of so many people, be it their own kid, somebody else kid, family, or any person whom they have mentored and the world at large.

Wishing all the Father’s a very Happy Father’s Day!!

Happy Parenting!!

Let us all take a Positivity pledge!

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I was reading a book Sapiens when I came across a line “Our survival as a species has often depended on complex set of adaptation based on fear. The early hunter did not know which berries are safe to eat but they learned quickly with experience. Similarly, those early humans when first encountered a large animal in the environment did not know whether that animal is a food, prey or predator. Again, they learned, but sometimes learning comes at the cost of lives.”

It reminded of the people losing their lives to covid-19 pandemic. The early cost is very higher than anybody wants to pay but we are all learning with more experience. At this point, many of us are unknown about how is this spreading rapidly despite of social distancing and what is the true mortality rate?

Whenever there is a void between what is known and what we need to know, anxiety will always hold in the cracks and fill the remaining place. Its very easy to let in the negative thoughts and feelings during this time. Every time I switch on any news channel, all I see the news surrounding increase in cases and trials of vaccines failing. The coronavirus is spreading. Nations are under quarantine. People are working from home and schools are closed for indefinite period of time.

We are all going through the joint collective shock, sense of loss, anxiety and stress and range of other emotions. We have cancelled our spring gala, our trips and learning new technology everyday

With all the negativity surrounding you, keeping a positive mindset can take you a long way in managing such difficult time.

Can Positivity be contagious? I know that sound cliché when we are talking about coronavirus but its true, being positive during the crises can spread and help others during this difficult time. I read an article yesterday which points to how you stay positive affects others around you. So next time when somebody ask you “How are you feeling?”, you know what to say “POSITIVE”

Staying positive in not a “do it yourself” project. For many, there is a community they can turn to, whether it is family or friends, or whatever it might be. Leaning on those people whom you trust gives you strength to fight.

So, while I sit down to write this article, I asked myself “How do you stay positive in the negative atmosphere?” After much thought I have jotted down some ways you can stay positive.

Gratitude

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Write a gratitude journal every day. Be thankful. There are so many things that you should be thankful for. For those who have a job, be thankful for that. Those who do not, there are people around them who still care for them. Those who are at home, be thankful that you are safe. Having a sense of gratitude leads to the lower level of stress. This very evening, before you go to sleep, think of the positive things that happened during the day. Take a moment to do this every night. If you have children, take a moment with them before bedtime to ask them to think about something they’re grateful for. You can share it with your kids and set a good example.

 

Meditate

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The secret of making the power of positive thinking is meditation. It works for me and I am sure it will work for you as well. In order to manifest the positive experiences in your life, you must change your thoughts which has to be changed from the roots itself. So, when you meditate, it first melts and eliminates the layer of anxiety and stress which leaves us with crystal clear thinking. You will be able to develop positive mental attitude which allows the easy manifestation of everything positive around you. Speaking of meditation, this is the area where I want to focus more and implement in my life. As everyone is health conscious these days and yoga is the best form of meditation one should try.

 

Faith

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Another thing that is proven right for me is faith. Faith can be on anyone. It can be on a divine figure whom you believe or anyone who is close to you. Faith cause us to focus on the process rather than the problem. Our battles can make us feel negative and isolated but when you know you are not alone. It brings positivity in our life.

 

Doing one kind act everyday

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Bring and share positivity by helping others. Volunteering your time, money, or energy to help others does not just make the world better, it also makes you better. Studies indicate that doing a kind act back boosts your happiness, health, and sense of well-being. You are not only doing good for others but doing good to yourself. I really found helping others makes me feel better about my existence.

 

Follow your passion

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I have been lately seeing lot of messages on my family Whats App group where everyone is cooking, sending pictures of their drawings and following their passion in this quarantine mode. What is it actually doing to you? Keeping you busy and engrossed right. That is the first step to not let the negativity prevail in you. It makes you feel confident and gives you the assurance of happiness and positivity in you.

 

Smile

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I know it might sound silly. I didn’t do much of this during the weekend. It is  just a matter of moving your facial muscles a bit but sometimes it gets tough especially during this time because of work from home and kids around you. So, make it a habit of bringing yourself in front of the mirror and force yourself to smile. Believe me it will really change your mood and help you to destress. I also felt lighter because it takes less muscles to smile than to frown.

 

Positivity is powerful but is useless without any actions. So, This May, the Mental Health Awareness month, I challenge you to take a pledge to be positive. It is an opportunity for you to take control of your mental health while putting some good in the world.

Stay positive and Happy parenting!!

I am a mom of 4-year-old and I had Coronavirus

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It all started 9th April when I slept with the tickling sensation in my throat. Next morning, I woke up anxious reading everything I could find about this deadly pandemic. The only thought I had in the mind was what if I am a carrier? All I was thinking at that moment was my family, my kid and my husband who are living with me.

I discussed this with my husband, and we ruled that option out because I just had the sore throat and no persistent cough. The day was fine, I did not feel much in my throat and was getting fine. It just felt like a normal cold and I started taking my necessary precautions like hot water, green tea and some ayurvedic medicine. The tickling sensation in my throat would not just leave.

I started to question myself. Did I move out of the house? The answer was a big No. I have not moved out of the house from last 2 months. Did I touch anything that could carry it? Again, no because whatever we are been delivered are left outside or in our car trunk for 2-3 days and then bringing in wearing gloves after disinfecting. It was a soliloquy and after much thought I concluded that I am thinking too much about it.

As an avid news reader, I followed the outbreak of covid-19 in china and Italy closely. Although no state or federal mandate was in place that time, we took necessary precautions like I pulled out my son from his music class and his swimming lessons. We stocked all essentials items because we believed that virus is dangerous before many people started to take it seriously. The state of New jersey closed 20th march. Since then we have not left the house. My husband just went out once to grocery store because the delivery slots for groceries were not available. We adopted the stay at home recommendation early and struck to them and we did everything write.

Despite of this, I got sick.

I started to keep continuous check on my symptoms, and I was not feeling anything apart from itchiness in my throat. I then decided to take the online CDC recommended test to check whether you have coronavirus or not. I did not meet the criteria as my symptoms was not in the list and was told that I just have cold symptoms and nothing else. When somebody tells you that you are fine and its just cold and you have multiple negative thoughts in your mind. How would you feel? You will ecstatic right? That was it, I was happy, cooked my favorite meal and slept well but then again, I had this feeling that something is wrong. why is that tickling in my throat not going away? After much thought I decided to take an appointment with my doctor to explain how I am feeling.

Next morning, I took an appointment and had a video call with my doctor. I explained how I feel deep down my throat. She asked me some basic questions. Did you go out? How long have you been feeling them? Do you have a fever? Are you feeling any fatigue? With no for every answer, she said it might be just seasonal flu and you will get better with time. With continues doubts in my mind, I asked can I get it tested for coronavirus? She said you do not have any symptoms but still if you have doubt, get it tested and keep that thought away from you permanently.

I booked my drive thru test for the next day with the urgent care. Those who are not aware as how the test is done. Let me explain you they put a cotton swab down your nose to your throat. I felt a little uncomfortable, but I got the test done and was told that they take 72 hours and will call me with my result.

I came back home and regained my duties, my son’s school, cooking and cleaning. Never have I thought I might contract it. Friday, I got a call and my husband told me to put it on the speaker. We were pretty sure that it would come back negative. The person on the call said “I am calling from urgent care, just wanted to let you know you have been tested positive for coronavirus”. I hung up and my husband panicked. I panicked too but I was also relieved to know that now I know that I felt terrible for a reason and it was all so real.

I called my physician to tell about the test. She was so surprised to hear from me and had no clue how it happened? I was also relieved to hear from my doctor that I seem to have a mild case and will recover well. She told me to take vitamin C and Vitamin D. the only thing that you can fight this virus with. I was in self-isolation away from my son and my husband then on. I did not get any fever and 10 days later, I still had a scratchy throat on and off but there was nothing concerning for me to be hospitalized.

While I felt anxious, I tried to relax. Then I realized as a mom that my biggest fear was for my 4-year-old son, who usually ends up in bronchitis every change of weather since this is a respiratory disease. What would that mean for him?

There was heavy energy in the room, yet we tried to keep everything right. My husband tried his level best to manage everything. He used to get up, cook and then make my son study, do his own work and then manage every possible thing in the house. When you are sick and you know somebody is there, it acts like an energy booster for you. He was just that to me during this tough time. He would make me feel that everything will be alright and just take rest, he is there for everything else.

Imagine what it is like when you have 3 people in the house and out of them a confirmed case of coronavirus and one healthy preschooler?

Tough right? There are many words that can be used but this seems to be the best. The strangest thing I find about this virus is what I have experienced is the fluctuation. Since the beginning, one moment it feels that you have been hit by a truck and then other moment feels nothing is wrong. The good part of this moment is that sometimes its ok and the bard part is when your son asks you when are you getting better to play with me?

Now my self-isolation period is over, and I am feeling well and have no symptoms, got it tested again and came back negative. I am still taking lot of precautions like wearing mask when I am with my family and wearing gloves when needed.

I still feel scared and anxious almost everyday and I know how much it takes to put oneself back again. The only valuable thing that I had was Hope. So just in case, if I have anyone out there just like me, I put together some pieces of advice. I hope with proper social distancing and following the advices of the government officials, we can help stop the spread of Covid -19 and get these numbers down, but I also fear that it is very much prevalent than many of us even realize. I do not know where I got it. I was washing my hands, being careful.

So, while I hope we all stay healthy, if anybody does have the same experience, I have put together my advice on how to parent with the coronavirus.

1.Throw away screen time out of the window

We all have set some screen time and rules for our kids, but it does not matter if your child is watching a lot these two weeks. If you want some rest, and do not want your kid to come to you, it is sometime ok to let them watch for as much time they want.

2. Give lot of attention and assurances to your kids

We have a particularly emotionally aware and sensitive toddler and he has expressed that he does not want mommy to be sick. I think he was nervous because it is not usually something he sees. I did not have a choice to be with him to assure. It is very important to give lot of attention and assurance to your child. My husband assured him that everything will be normal again. He used to do facetime calls from the other room to check how I am feeling. Having some control helped him feel as if he is a process of getting me better.

3. Lean on to your family, friends and relatives

When my result came, I got a call from health department telling that my whole family has to quarantine themselves too. We could not do our own groceries. Everything could not be ordered. and I needed my friends and family for physical support as well as emotional support. I received lot of support both emotionally and physically that made me feel how privileged I am.

 

These are strange times; it has been a tough two weeks and I do not know when we all can step outside with our little one without any fear in my mind. But until that day comes, do not forget to text, call or connect with someone you have not talked to in a long time.

These times shall too pass.

Happy Parenting

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